Nilagang Pasko

It’s sad to see recipes like Nilagang Pasko starting to die because of ingredient availability, commodity prices and for the sake of convenience. Nowadays there are very few Filipino who prepare this dish for Christmas because of the following reasons I mentioned above. A dish prepared by slowly boiling whole chicken, whole pork belly, whole Chinese Leg Ham, whole Chorizo de Bilbao with vegetables that was a tradition in Malolos Bulacan that stemmed from the Spanish period, a dish that was prepared only during Christmas. Meats are cooked whole for a reason, it symbolizes unity for Family in the next coming years.

Influenced by Spain and the Chinese hence you have the use chorizo and Chinese ham, this is what sets it apart from other nilaga dishes as impart a different characteristic in flavour, Chinese spices meet Spanish, just imagine five spice and paprika in a rich meaty stock with sweet vegetables, it will definitely be one of the tastiest soups you will ever try.

I remember my Auntie made this a couple of Christmases when I was young, it reminds me of the savoury sweet soup, melt in your mouth meat and crunchy vegetables. I even remember some families when I was young prepare this with left over ham and roast meats, they had on their Noche Buena. Today I will introduce this to my daughter so that she is educated on these types of dying tradition even-though we live in a place far from the Philippines, at least she can still experience centuries old tradition like this and hopefully hand it over to her future sons and daughters.

For our recipe I will stick as much as possible to the original taste but I will not use whole chunks of meat at it might be too much for a small family to feed, hence I am cutting them into more manageable cubes.

Nilagang Pasko
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 700 g pork leg (pata)
  • 500 g pork belly (liempo)
  • 500 g chicken thighs
  • 300 g Chinese ham (jinhua ham)
  • 1 pc large chorizo, sliced
  • 3 ears of corn, cut into 3 sections
  • ½ small Chinese cabbage, sliced
  • 4 stalks spring onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • fish sauce
  • water
  1. In a pot add pork leg, pork belly, chicken thighs, Chinese ham, chorizo and whole peppercorns, fill it up with water then bring it to a boil. Simmer for one hour in low heat. Remove the chicken then set it aside, add the corn then continue to simmer in low heat for 25 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, simmer for 15 more minutes.
  3. Add the Chinese cabbage, simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spring onions, season with fish sauce then simmer for 2 more minutes.
  5. Turn heat off then serve.



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